There’s nothing like a theme to get your guests excited about a party. Here are some of my go-tos:
Raise the Tree/ Raise the Flag, Raise the Roof
Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, Flag Day is June 14 every year. Throw a rager for these under-celebrated holidays. Raise a tree or Old Glory in honor of the day.
Special Equipment: Sapling and spade; Pole and flag.
Guests Bring: Alcohol, a partying spirit.
Arbor Day Menu: Broccoli and dip; salmon with new potatoes; Hendrick's martinis with cucumber.
Flag Day Menu: BBQ; strawberry shortcake; vodka-cran-blueberries.
Lots of us have artsy ambitions with no time to pursue them. Guests bring little projects like knitting, paints, burlesque costumes, or whittling; host can supply these, too.
Special Equipment: Fun, cheap art supplies; old socks, yarn, googly eyes, felt, scissors, and glue are popular for sock puppets.
Snacks: Appetizers on toothpicks or cake pops are great — no messy hands!
Drinks: Clear things that won’t ruin projects when they ultimately spill, like vodka-tonic, white wine, gin martinis, and Jell-O shots.
Doggie Play Date
Just like parents and kids, dog owners and dogs need social time. Petless friends can get their puppy fix without the commitment. Meet at a park or pet-friendly home. Introduce dogs slowly and bring crates and baby gates for time-outs, if needed.
Special Equipment: Dog leads, water bowls, toys.
Snacks: Chips, dip, and sweets for the humans; treats for a dog treat bar
Drinks: Water, wine, Hair of the Dog Beer
I read a Food & Wine article called 20 Pairings to Try Before You Die. It inspired me to host a party or a series of parties serving the pairings in appetizer-sized portions. You could also make this potluck.
Special Equipment: Read the article, and pick which items you want to feature.
Guests Bring: If they’re winos like me and keep wine journals, bring them, or you can offer guests cheap ones.
Snacks and Drinks: Follow the article. You might serve sorbet to cleanse the palate.
The Cooking Show
If you know a chef or someone who loves to cook, hire them (with love, barter, or money) to host a cooking lesson party. Guests learn technique, enjoy the meal, and get the recipe. Bonus — film it!
Special Equipment: Prepared lesson, ingredients for the meal, copies of the recipe.
Guests Bring: Something to take notes with, Tupperware to take leftovers, or ingredients to split the party cost.